Commentary: Animating the Psyche

For global metrics to have purchase, they must be imbued by more than what Reubi (2018) terms, with a nod to Weber, the “quantificational spirit” of the new epidemiology. They must be animated, brought to life (“animate” derives from the Latin anima, “soul”). Friction is produced in the animation of these categories, without which local encounters of these tools of global mental health do not find a foothold. This is one sense in which we might understand the spirit of global “psyche” (from the Greek: “breath,” “life,” “soul”). The French term esprit captures well the polysemy; it translates as both spirit and mind; as in the spirit (esprit) of capitalism and philosophy of the mind (esprit). In on‐the‐ground encounters between psyche and concrete practices and practical categories, practitioners and patients (patient taken here in its classical meaning, as that on whom an agent acts, whether agency resides within the subject or not), each animates the other. But this is not the only incarnation of psyche possible.

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